Fatal dog attack raises concerns

Sue England with her surviving cat "Helen" a Sphynx. She's calling on Blacktown Council to improve investigation times on dog attacks.  PIcture: Gary Warrick

Sue England with her surviving cat "Helen" a Sphynx. She's calling on Blacktown Council to improve investigation times on dog attacks. PIcture: Gary Warrick

AN Old Mount Druitt pet owner fears children's lives could be at risk unless Blacktown Council makes more effort in its investigation of dog attacks.

Sue England set up a petition on change.org after she said it took 12 days for the council to interview her about her cat Bob, that was mauled to death.

He and sphynx Helen were sleeping in the front yard. Three large dogs were roaming the streets after they escaped from a nearby property.

Helen escaped in time but Bob didn't stand a chance against a bull mastiff, husky and what Ms England believes was a labrador.

A neighbour who witnessed the incident also narrowly avoided being attacked.

The council and police were contacted when the attack happened. While both parties did arrive, the council didn't follow up with Ms England until almost two weeks later despite daily inquiries.

Still traumatised, Ms England believes investigations into dog attacks should start within the first 48 hours.

Almost 250 people have signed her online petition.

"Any dog that harms or kills a family member (human or pet) should be of high priority and dealt with as quickly as possible to avoid future attacks," Ms England said.

"A lot of people are upset as Bob was well known in the neighbourhood."

She said the dogs had been seen wandering the neighbourhood many times and believes they have previously killed backyard chickens.

A council spokeswoman confirmed the owners have since been issued with notices of intent to declare the dogs as dangerous but have indicated they will appeal.

She said response time can range from immediately to a number of days, depending on the severity and circumstances of the attack.

In this case, the dogs were not sighted on the day of the attack, so the property where the dogs were from was unknown for several days. It took another few days to get in touch with and interview the dogs' owner. The spokeswoman confirmed a six month nuisance order was placed one of the dogs in 2012 after it killed some chickens.

"There are no other complaints or correspondence in relation to the dogs from this property," she said.

■ What do you think? stmarysstar.com.au.

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